Canadian Gaming Industry Celebrates Outstanding Achievement and Raises Money
for Canadian Red Cross

CALGARY, April 28 /CNW/ - The Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) will make a major contribution to the Canadian Red Cross tonight during the fourth annual Canadian Gaming Awards and Gala Benefit. At the same time, Canada's gaming industry will recognize excellence and volunteerism within its own ranks.

"The industry is pleased to contribute to the Canadian Red Cross, an organization with a long history of helping people at home and abroad," said Bill Rutsey, president of CGA and host of this week's Canadian Gaming Summit and awards gala.

All proceeds from tonight's event will be donated to The Canadian Red Cross, which works with governments and humanitarian organizations to provide basic needs - food, clothing, shelter, first aid, emotional support and family reunification.

As charity sponsor of the event, Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) is also making a key donation to the charity. G&D is a leading supplier of banknote paper, banknote printing, currency automation systems, as well as smart cards and complex system solutions in the fields of gaming, telecommunications, electronic payment, health care, identification, transportation and IT security.

This is also a night for the Canadian gaming industry to recognize its own leaders. The Canadian Gaming Awards recognize excellence and achievement in two distinct areas: Volunteerism & Community Service and Industry Leadership & Outstanding Contribution. "The Canadian gaming industry is made up of innovative organizations and smart, creative individuals," said Rutsey. "They are making their companies great places to work, their communities better places to live, and the industry stronger, more responsible and more successful."

Award winners for Industry Leadership & Outstanding Contribution are: Michael Novac, Owner and President of Sonco Group Inc and Larry Gregson, Vice President of Marketing for Niagara Casinos.

Michael Novac is the owner and president of the Halifax-based real estate development company Sonco Group Inc. He has nearly 50 years of experience developing properties across Canada and the United States. This Montreal native has also been involved in the gaming industry since 1994, when he joined forces with Casinos Austria to develop the Great Blue Heron Casino on First Nations land near Port Perry, Ontario.

Novac has developed a strong track record in local casinos in three provinces, developing a product that delivers a world-class gaming experience without compromising gaming integrity. In addition to the Great Blue Heron Casino, Novac has worked with Clairvest, a Toronto-based equity firm, to develop the Grey Eagle Casino in Calgary, which has created a tremendous economic benefit to both First Nations and the Calgary population. His latest venture with Clairvest is the Casino New Brunswick and an amenities complex in Moncton, which will open in early May.

Larry Gregson, Vice President of Marketing for Niagara Casinos, has a long and accomplished career in the gaming and entertainment industries. After his early career managing and promoting recording artists, this Ontario native landed a high-profile position with Las Vegas Events in the late 1980s. He continued to hone his craft working in casinos in Minnesota, Mississippi, and Nova Scotia before returning to Ontario to help develop the Casino Rama Entertainment Centre.

Gregson joined Niagara Casinos in 2006 and was immediately charged with leading a turnaround for the $1.1-billion OLG property. Since then, he and his team have successfully revamped the property's entertainment and special events, reports and database mining, bussing program, VIP program and advertising. In his first four months, Gregson launched a monthly newsletter, a full concert schedule, and a call centre that accepts reservations. His efforts help explain why Niagara Casinos has been voted as Ontario's favorite casino for two consecutive years. In the Volunteerism & Community Service category, the winners are the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation and the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC).

The Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation, a Crown Corporation that was established to operate Casinos Regina and Moose Jaw, has a mandate to offer casino entertainment in a socially-responsible way. It generates quality employment, economic benefit to communities, and a profit for Saskatchewan people in partnership with First Nations. The corporation offers a "first employer" program providing people with jobs in which they can develop skills and leadership abilities. As a result, 32 per cent of their 1,000-person workforce is under the age of 30.

Sask Gaming has been honoured as one of Saskatchewan's Top 20 Employers for the fourth year in a row. Sask Gaming strives to reach out to the community - with emphasis on Métis and First Nations events and organizations. Approximately half of Sask Gaming's staff is of Aboriginal ancestry and several local First Nations communities and organizations benefit from its sponsorship. In 2009, it awarded 1.3% of net income (more than $670,000) to community relations. Every year, hundreds of Saskatchewan organizations benefit from donations and sponsorships to worthwhile causes.

Since its creation in 1976, Atlantic Lottery has contributed $6.3 billion in profits to its four provincial government shareholders - New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. The region's communities have also benefited: In 2009 alone, the corporation contributed $2.1 million to various causes and events across the region.

Atlantic Lottery and its employees, for instance, raised more than $100,000 for the Red Cross Haiti relief fund in a campaign in which the corporation matched donations made by staff. It also acted immediately to make up for lost revenue after donation boxes for the Make-a-Wish Foundation had been stolen. Atlantic Lottery is also one of the largest donators to amateur sport in Atlantic Canada. It has supported the Canada Games, the largest amateur sporting event in Canada, for more than three decades. Atlantic Lottery will assume the role of Platinum Sponsor at the 2011 Games, in recognition of its contribution of $500,000 and its support for the volunteer program.

The Canadian Gaming Summit is the CGA's signature event, an annual gathering of more than 1,200 industry representatives. Complete information on the 2010 summit can be found at The CGA represents the industry's leading operators, manufacturers, suppliers and stakeholders nation-wide.

SOURCE Canadian Gaming Association

For further information: For further information: Paul Burns, Vice-President, Canadian Gaming Association, Cell: (416) 579-3922,

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